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(Part 3)


January 12, 2014
Today’s reading: Isaiah 42:1-7

This passage from Isaiah is the first of four “Servant of the Lord” poems. It describes the mission of a servant. The ultimate servant is Jesus, and Matthew applied this passage to Jesus (see Mt 12:17-21). Since we are God’s instruments, it speaks of our mission as well.

This passage speaks repeatedly of justice. “He will bring forth justice to the nations.” (v.1b); “He will faithfully bring forth justice.” (v.3b); “He will not grow dim or be bruised until he establishes justice on the earth” (v.4a); “I, the Lord, have called you for justice” (v.6a). What is justice? It is giving to the other person what is his due. And what is due the poor? It is an equitable share of the goods of the earth, which God provided richly for all. Indeed, it is “God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and its produce” (v.5a).

As servants of the Lord who are sent forth by Jesus to continue his mission, what are we to do? We are to help bring liberation to the poor. Our work through the No One in Need movement (NONe) is intended “to open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.” (v.7). We are to help the poor see the poverty of their spiritual situation, even as they have been groping in a darkened world and losing their way. We are to help liberate people from bondage to sin, imprisoned by the enemy, confined in situations of hopelessness and helplessness. We are to help free people from darkness and captivity to worldly values, and from being in need.

And so we have launched NONe because we have heard the call to do a massive work with the poor. “I, the Lord, have called you for justice” (v.6a). The Lord has taken hold of us, bringing us to this point where we now clearly see the call to help build the Church of the Poor. “I have grasped you by the hand” (v.6b). The Lord has prepared us through all these years, teaching us valuable lessons, bringing us high and low, chastising us, encouraging us, inspiring us, leading us. “I formed you” (v.6c). The Lord entered into covenant with us, and led us to adopt a Core Value of Preferential Option for the Poor, to serve His beloved poor. He “set (us) as a covenant for the people” (v.6d). The Lord intends this work to be for the whole world, including enabling rich people and nations to serve poor people and nations, by having less for self so that there might be more for others so that there would be enough for all. He wants this work to be “a light for the nations” (v.6e).

The Lord has chosen us. The Lord is pleased with how we have responded. Thus the Lord empowers us with His Spirit to enable us to do this work of justice. The work is going to be hard and challenging. When the suffering and pain come, let us be assured of the Lord’s words to each of us: “Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one with whom I am pleased. Upon him I have put my spirit; he shall bring forth justice to the nations.” (v.1).

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